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   Chapter 40 French's Forest, Form For Me

The Silverskin By Rian Torr Characters: 17518

Updated: 2018-03-07 15:18

The day she turned seven, little Eva Marin started having strange dreams at night. They started very innocently, as her curious child's mind was open to all.

The mural of a mountain, Forest and valley painted on her bedroom wall came alive while she slept—as a distant world revealed itself. It was escapism from life.

In the foreground, a jaguar perched upon a precipice of the mountain―overlooking a lush green valley, that was filled with a silver fog.

In the middle-ground stood a blue wood, through which wound a redstone trail. The scene was as if from a fantastical storybook, but none she knew.

A sign on the path read: 'Ruddy Stroll'. Down in the lower right-hand corner of the overall mural, the work of art was signed in an almost child-like scrawl:

'French's Forest' by Evan French

There was no date signed—and Eva knew nothing else of the mysterious painting's origins. All she knew was that it helped her to take off to another place.

When she slept—all along the wall―to vanishing point—the limbs of the Forest swayed with life, like countless restless soldiers in an army of darkness, perpetually on alert for what night held.

Their trunks ran over a sea of rambling hillocks―up the side of a massive mountain, to a darkly crowned ridge―where clouds parted for an old wooden sign that prominently read:

MOUNT MIRAMAR, 8, 888 Feet

Above the sign, the moon never waned—hanging full every hour of the month—day or night in the Forest. That lunar landscape was ever awash in light.

In her dreams, Eva could hear coyotes howling—owls hooting—and wailing mating sounds all night long. The cacophony of the wood was everpresent.

Cricket song pierced the crisp Forest air in frenzied symphonies―as frog croaks ballooned tenfold under the heavy dome of darkness—where echoes effortlessly collected, culminating in a chorus wild for the wilderness. The place was so alive.

Shrill cries rang out―as claws clashed in the pitch—and the belly of bedtime held nothing less than every horror Eva's heart could imagine—to a musical backdrop—with notes of insanity and dischord in ample doses. It was dark.

In the fall, her night visions would gather shade, as the trees shed their leaves―growing more crooked and wraith-like—and the weald turned even more wild than it were―as animal cries ran rampant—and the calls of territorial strife rang out from the trees, rolling all across the valley.

On those autumn eves―the jaguar would pace back-and-forth, lowly growling, always on guard—on watch for whatever might emerge from the shadows. The jaguar was her protector, her keeper from harm, who never slept.

In the summertime, when the mural bore more blue skies—the jaguar took small naps—but when the night rolled in—he remained ever on alert and unsettled. French's Forest was no place for a young girl to venture forth in alone, so he stayed.

Then down in the bottom of the valley stood a tree, in which were perched seven red ravens, that would occasionally swoop out, especially when the sun was up—so they could soar about, bathing in solar waves. They were so very beautiful.

But like the jaguar, under the cold evening stars, the ravens would ruffle their feathers in concerted discomfort at every eerie sound to come from the Forest. The animals of the wood knew best when the trees tremored to beware.

Eventually, Eva took this jaguar and those ravens to be her true guardians—and she grew unafraid of them. She learned to trust them when it was safe to wander and when it was best to remain under the safety of her silken sheets.

In fact, she came to feel better just knowing they were always there—between her and the Forest—and she started to feel that she would not at all be disinclined toward forging a friendship with them if it were possible. If only that she knew how.

Indeed, with the security of knowing they were there―she became increasingly intrigued by them—as well as the enchanted Forest scene—forever more fascinated with the mural as it continued to become animated for her personal amusement each night. It was a dream.

But every morning, memory of the Forest would quickly fade—until she hit the pillow again that evening. During the day, she would begin to grow numb again, to begin to hate the world and living in it. She would forget what adventure awaited.

Each night then, she would curl up under cover in her four-post bed―peeking out from her sheets at the valley, Forest and mountain beyond—always trying to catch the jaguar moving before she fell asleep, as proof that she was not just dreaming—but the cat never budged an inch before she ever did close her lids.

Sometimes she would pretend to sleep―only to sneak a quick glance―but all animation was still nil while she was conscious. It was only after she had drifted off that the cat came out to play again, to take her away from boredom.

This game of hers carried on for weeks, until one day she was talking to her mother about dreams. Her mother said that she could control them, just by thinking to do so before going to sleep.

"Just say to yourself: 'I will clearly remember my dreams in the morning. I will easily control them in my sleep. I will make them

so close she often almost broke her promise to Midnight about non-interaction—but then she would retreat to her waking life, until the next night, when she would begin again to explore the woods. Each time she came closer to it.

Her mother started asking her why she spent so much time in her room―and she explained that she was just in there reading her books. She was just escaping.

She always kept her bedroom door locked after eight anyway, so that her mother would not come barging in to find that her bed was empty. She was smart.

The few times her mother knocked to say goodnight, Midnight covered for her—imitating Eva's voice―calling back: 'Good night, Mommy!' He imitated well.

So then, for eleven years in this way, Eva stayed on the Ruddy Stroll―ever remaining an aloof observer—heeding Midnight's warning. She was wise enough.

But when she turned eighteen―at the summer solstice―her caution finally weakened—and in a moment of poor judgment, she decided there could surely be nothing wrong with veering off of the Ruddy Stroll for just a little bit on her birthday. She felt like she must have finally earned it—after all those years of patiently padding that old redstone path.

Then while crossing through a remote nook of the wood by the Payne, under a majestic canopy of constellations―she came on a pool, where she stripped down to swim under stars.

After awhile, the clouds blotted out the cosmos, darkening the sky into a storm-front—and when a wall of rain rolled in, she decided that she better get back.

But as she started to swim for shore—lightning started opening up all around. Then a great bolt crashed down into the pool—instantly electrifying her body now.

She cried out—as the water turned into a silver twister and swallowed her up. She writhed in agony under the eddies—undergoing a supernatural transformation that would change her life forever then on.

Her ears pointed at the tips—as her hair bled to black—horns protruding from her head—as her skin turned silver—and eyes grew green as grass. Faye was cast.

Then She rose out of the water, dripping liquid silver, ascending through the air—when from out of the depths of the pool below, a great anaconda shot up high into the atmosphere, spiraling a thousand feet toward the zenith in the clouds—before eventually slowing to a stop—then coming back down in long, graceful swoops and arcs—until ultimately slowing in descent—coiling in around Her waist. The ghost of the long dead silver elf, Lady Faye of French's Forest, was finally reborn. The Silverskin was home.

Eva was now posessed by the One.

She raised Her hands up in submission to the dark clouds—as the powers of French's Forest infused Her with their otherworldly vibrations. She howled.

Then lightning blasted―striking Her upon the head, channeling down through Her upstretched arms—out through Her feet—for a split second parting the pool below—sealing her new fate as Lady Faye.

From that day forward, She was no longer Eva the Observer—but Faye the Destroyer. She was as much Devil as all.

She was no longer just a girl, but now She was a dark and twisted, demonic huntress. She was two sides of spectrum.

In Her left hand, She formed Her bloodshield Hete—and in Her right hand—Her blue firesword Ierre—and from then on, to a distant day―whenever She went to sleep at night—She lived on as Faye, roaming French's Forest to sate the seat of Her sadism. She shed pink skin for beast.

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